Video Poker: An Overview

Video poker has gained immense popularity over the years, attracting a wide range of players from beginners to experienced gamblers. Its unique combination of skill and luck, along with the convenience of playing from home, has made it a favorite among casino enthusiasts worldwide. Whether you’re a seasoned poker player or new to the game, video poker offers an exciting and engaging experience that keeps players coming back for more.

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How Do You Play Video Poker?

Video Poker two pair winning handPlaying video poker is relatively simple, even if you’re new to the game. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to play:

  1. Choose your preferred video poker machine or online platform. There are numerous variations of video poker available, so select one that suits your preferences and skill level.
  2. Place your bet by selecting the desired coin denomination and the number of coins you wish to wager. Keep in mind that the payout for certain winning hands increases with higher bets.
  3. Click on the “Deal” button to receive your initial hand of five cards. These cards are randomly generated by the computer.
  4. Decide which cards to keep and which ones to discard. You can do this by clicking on the cards you wish to hold. The discarded cards will be replaced with new ones when you click on the “Draw” button.
  5. After the draw, your final hand will be evaluated against the game’s paytable. The paytable displays the payouts for different winning combinations.
  6. If your final hand matches any of the winning combinations listed on the paytable, you will be awarded the corresponding payout.
  7. You can choose to collect your winnings or use them to play another round. If you decide to continue playing, repeat the steps above.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and paytables of the video poker variation you’re playing, as they may vary slightly from game to game.

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What are Paytables?

Similar to slot games, video poker has a paytable where the player can monitor which card combinations give the most payout. In terms of hierarchy, the card combinations follow traditional poker’s hand ranks. For those who don’t know what poker hands are, here is a quick rundown:

Royal Flush

This combination is the highest or strongest hand in Poker and Video Poker. To get this hand, your 5-card combination has to be a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace that are all in the same suit. When you land this hand combination in traditional poker, more or less you have won that round. This is the same for Video Poker: having a Royal Flush makes you win what you have wagered multiplied by the paytable.

That said, landing a Royal Flush in Video Poker is extremely rare, even if you can hold cards.

Straight Flush

The second strongest hand in Poker and Video Poker is a Straight Flush. As it name suggests, getting this combination entails the player to have five cards that all share a suit, and have consecutive values. For example, a 5-card combination of a 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Clubs is a straight flush. Only a higher straight flush or a Royal Flush can beat it.

Four of a Kind

A Four of a Kind is a card combination that has players get four cards of the same value, and any random fifth card. For example, landing a 5 of Clubs, 5 of Diamonds, 5 of Hearts, and 5 of Spades, and a Jack of Clubs means the player’s hand is a Four of a Kind, since they get four 5s and a random kicker.

Four of a Kind hands beat Full House, Flushes, Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, and Single High cards. However, they are beaten by another Four of a Kind whose four cards are higher in value, a Straight Flush, and a Royal Flush.

Full House

A Full House is a five-card combination where players get a Three of a Kind and a pair that have the same value. A 4 of Spades, a 4 of Clubs, a 4 of Diamonds, and a pair of 6s is an example of a Full House.

A Full House is higher than a Flush, Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, and Single High cards. It can be beaten by a Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, or a higher variant of a Full House: a higher Full House is a Full House with a higher Three of a Kind.


A Flush is a five-card combination where each card share the same suit. The cards do not need to be in order, and it beats Straights, Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, and High cards. Flush beats Straights, Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, and High cards.

Flushes are beaten by higher value Flushes, Full Houses, Four of a Kind, Four of a Kind, Straight Flushes, and Royal Flushes.


As its name suggests, a Straight is a 5-card combination where the cards are consecutive values and can have more than one suit. When a player has an Ace, its value can either be lower than 2 or higher than a King: if there are two Aces, its value cannot be the same in one hand.

Straights beat Three of a Kind, Two Pairs, and High cards. It falls to Flushes, Full Houses, Fours of a Kind, Straight Flushes, and Royal Flushes.

Three of a Kind

A Three of a Kind is a hand that has three same-value cards that have different suits. The two remaining cards should be of different values.  Three of a Kind beats Two Pairs and High cards, but is beaten by Straights, Flushes, Full Houses, Fours of a Kind, Straight Flushes, and Royal Flushes.

Two Pairs

As it name suggests, Two Pairs is a 5-card hand that has two different sets of two cards of matching rank. The highest-ranked left available card completes the hand. Two Pairs only beat High cards, and is defeated by Threes of a Kind, Straights, Flushes, Full Houses, Fours of a Kind, Straight Flushes, and Royal Flushes.

Jacks or Better

Jacks or Better is a Video Poker variant of a High card. Players whose 5-card combination has a Jack of any suit or higher counts as a Jacks or Better hand. This is the lowest hand in Video Poker, and is beat by all other aforementioned hand combinations.

All hand variations have corresponding wagers and will depend on what type of video poker you’re playing. Here is an example paytable for All-American Poker:

Stake $1 $2 $3 $4 $5
Royal Flush 250 500 750 1000 4000
Straight Flush 200 400 600 800 1000
Four of a Kind 35 70 105 140 175
Full House 8 16 24 32 40
Flush 8 16 24 32 40
Straight 8 16 24 32 40
Three of a Kind 3 6 9 12 15
Two Pairs 1 2 3 4 5
Jacks or Better 1 2 3 4 5

What is the Difference Between Traditional Poker and Video Poker?

While both traditional poker and video poker share the same basic principles, there are some key differences that set them apart.

Firstly, in traditional poker, you play against other players, while in video poker, you play against the computer. This eliminates the need for bluffing and reading opponents, making video poker a more straightforward and individual experience. In terms of betting, before players are dealt with the five cards, they need to place their bets first.

Secondly, traditional poker involves multiple rounds of betting and strategic decision-making, while video poker is a single-player game that focuses on achieving the best possible hand. The absence of other players and betting rounds in video poker allows for a faster-paced and more streamlined gameplay experience.

Lastly, the payout structure in video poker is predetermined and based on the strength of your hand, while in traditional poker, the pot is determined by the bets made by the players. This makes video poker a more predictable game in terms of potential winnings.

Playing video poker is a good alternative for players who want to get familiar with the different hand combinations. Players can practice handling various hands and assessing their chances of winning based on the cards that are dealt.

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What are Video Poker Types?

Video Poker types

One key difference video poker has over traditional poker is the sheer variety of video poker games available for players. Each type of video poker has specific rules that players need to be mindful of, since some of the different rules will impact the payout players can win. Here are some examples of video poker types:

Jacks or Better

video poker jacks or better

Jacks or Better is the closest variant of video poker to conventional poker. The hand hierarchy is the same, with the Royal Flush being the highest, and the lowest winning hand combination is Jacks or Better.

Aces and Eights

video poker aces and eights

Also known as “the dead man’s hand” in traditional poker, its video poker version is the same as Jacks or Better. Its main difference is in the payout: Aces and Eights include two additional winning hands: 4 Aces or Eights, 4 Sevens, and 4 Deuces with Ace.

All-American Poker

video poker all-american poker

All-American Poker is a variant of Jacks or Better, with the key difference being in the payouts. It employs bigger payouts for flushes, straights, and straight flushes, while reduced payouts for full houses and two pairs.

Bonus Poker

video poker bonus poker

Bonus Poker adds two additional winning hand in 4 Twos, Threes, or Fours, and 4 Deuces with Ace. It also allows players to wager Double or Nothing runs when playing with one High card.

Deuces Wild

video poker deuces wild

Deuces Wild has adds the rule where Twos of any suit are Wild Cards. This version also adds three more winning hands: 4 Deuces, Wild Royal with 2s, and Five of a Kind. However, it removes Two Pairs and Jacks or Better hands.

Joker Poker

video poker joker poker

As its name suggests, Joker Poker adds the Joker card in the game that acts as a wild card. Additional payouts include Five of a Kind and Royal with Joker. Instead of Jacks or Better, the lowest winning hand is Kings or Better.

Sevens Wild

video poker sevens wild

Sevens Wild makes 7s as wild cards. This also means this version adds more payouts in 4 Sevens, Wild Royal, and Five of a Kind. However, it removes Jacks or Better, and Two Pairs.

In conclusion, video poker is a popular and thrilling casino game that offers a unique twist on traditional poker. Its individual gameplay, faster pace, and predetermined payouts make it an enticing choice for both beginners and experienced players. So why not give it a try and see if you can achieve a winning hand?

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